Top Chef alum Fatima Ali’s health has taken a turn. The chef, a fan favorite from the Bravo reality competition’s 15th season, says she needs prayers as she contends with terminal cancer.
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“I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why,” Ali, 29, wrote on Thursday, January 10, captioning an Instagram photo of herself in a hospital bed. “I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple.”
She continued: “I hope, because a wish is putting on too much responsibility on the other, that you will somehow find forgiveness in your big heart for whenever I must have hurt you. I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy. I’ll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can.”
Commenters immediately posted messages of support, including Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. “I’m coming boo!” the 48-year-old wrote. “Hold on tight!”
Ali, who’s also a Chopped winner, was diagnosed in late 2017 with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer affecting bone and soft tissue. In February 2018, she announced she was cancer-free after several rounds of chemo. But in an October 2018 essay in Bon Appétit’s Healthyish, Ali revealed her cancer had returned.
“The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone,” she wrote at the time. “My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”
In an exclusive interview with NewsPlop in October, the Pakistan-born chef raved about the support she had received from friends and family — particularly her mother and Lakshmi — and from strangers on social media.
“I can’t say that I have been surprised by anyone’s love, but I have been amazed by the sheer magnitude of care and outpour of messages from complete strangers,” she told Us. “Every day, between all my social media accounts, I have had people send me their own journey of battling cancer or that of their loved ones or even just a simple line of encouragement.”
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Ali later revealed her future plans, telling fans she was thinking of writing a book and planning on “visiting new restaurants all around the world and getting my eat on.” A fellow season 15 cheftestant set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Ali’s culinary bucket list, and the campaign has raised more than $96,000 so far.
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